We’re all aware of the “healthier” fast food trend. The McDonalds and Taco Bells of the world throw around the word fresca, add some parfaits or apple slices, and ta-da it’s healthy! I admire the concept but in practice it doesn’t translate properly. If you’re going to a McDonalds you’re going there specifically to get crap fast food. You’re not weaving through the Portillos drive-thru line for the freaking salad.
Regardless of the restaurant, I want to order what they are good at making, the “signature” items not a sidebar health food item they threw on the menu for kicks. Therefore when choosing a fast food option, we opt for places that specialize in healthy options, so they taste good. I can lie and say we never eat fast food but we have lives and it’s vital sometimes. Here’s our go-to fast food restaurant list (each one has vegetarian and vegan options):
Side note: when I refer to foods as “healthy” this doesn’t mean low calorie or low fat, those are “healthy” food myths. So if you look at my burrito and say “that’s not healthy it has a ton of calories” know I choose based on ingredients not calories. You can eat low in fat/calories and still be incredibly unhealthy. You can also be a vegan and be incredibly unhealthy. It all depends on what you end up eating.
No artificial flavors or fillers; freshly sourced produce; free-range livestock without synthetic hormones or nontherapeutic antibiotics & non-GMO. It can be just as cheap as McDonalds, it’s faster, & it’s made right in front of you.
My order: 3 flour tacos: brown rice, fajitas, sofritas, salsa, lettuce, corn & guacamole
Between their organic quinoa blend, super 6 salad mix, & whole wheat flaxseed tortillas: Protein Bar makes healthy ingredient picks across the board. I love all the options from quinoa bowls to salads or burritos. They also make great fresh juices & smoothies.
My order: Vegan backyard BBQ bar-rito
This place is healthy if you get a salad. My husband & I frequently grab salads for lunch since it’s right down the street from our condo. They are quick & reasonably priced.
My order: Vegan asian pocket sans crispy noodles
This is for the vegetarians/vegans out there. The menu is 100% plant-based & non-GMO. Again, healthy based on what you order as they offer battered & sugar laced items.
My order: Ensalada azteca
Noodles & Company
The menu is filled with fresh soup, salad, & pasta options. Opt for the salads or whole grain noodle dishes (that have vegetables included sans cream sauces) to stay on the healthy side.
My order: The med salad, I switch the yogurt feta dressing for balsamic & it’s just as good
So if you’re doing a Portillo's swap out because you read the latest cancer/processed meat studies validating a healthy lifestyle; here’s some options for you! Enjoy!
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